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The Scientific World JournalVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 956340, 12 pages

Research Article

Laboratoire Paysage, Agrocampus Ouest, 2 rue André Le Nôtre, 49000 Angers, France

Laboratoire de Psychologie, Université d-Angers, 11 boulevard Lavoisier, 49000 Angers, France

The Neuropsychological Laboratory, CNS-Fed, 39 rue Meaux, 75019 Paris, France

Received 27 September 2012; Accepted 30 October 2012

Academic Editors: M. Huotilainen and B. Schneider

Copyright © 2012 Jean Duchesne et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


When we explore a visual scene, our eyes make saccades to jump rapidly from one area to another and fixate regions of interest to extract useful information. While the role of fixation eye movements in vision has been widely studied, their random nature has been a hitherto neglected issue. Here we conducted two experiments to examine the Maxwellian nature of eye movements during fixation. In Experiment 1, eight participants were asked to perform free viewing of natural scenes displayed on a computer screen while their eye movements were recorded. For each participant, the probability density function PDF of eye movement amplitude during fixation obeyed the law established by Maxwell for describing molecule velocity in gas. Only the mean amplitude of eye movements varied with expertise, which was lower in experts than novice participants. In Experiment 2, two participants underwent fixed time, free viewing of natural scenes and of their scrambled version while their eye movements were recorded. Again, the PDF of eye movement amplitude during fixation obeyed Maxwell’s law for each participant and for each scene condition normal or scrambled. The results suggest that eye fixation during natural scene perception describes a random motion regardless of top-down or of bottom-up processes.

Autor: Jean Duchesne, Vincent Bouvier, Julien Guillemé, and Olivier A. Coubard



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